Once again, I did the One-Minute Paper assessment last week, this time for Topic #5: La Patrie: War and Society in Revolutionary Europe, 1789-1815. As part of this, I asked you to ask any questions you had at the bottom of the sheet. Here are a few I think need more direct answers.
What of this will be most important to help us on a exam?
All of it or else I wouldn’t present it to you. That said, I would also check out the Exam I Study Guide, which you can find on your course page under Classes in the navigation bar above to see what I have particularly singled out for special interest.
My question is how can we bring all that we learned into a certain timeline so that we can put the history of many different topics together?
This is a good question. I think the best way to approach this is to craft your own timeline, a task which will help you internalize the chronology more. Take the French Revolution stuff we’ve been doing, which I had essentially stretched out over four different topics. Take the various periods of the conflict that I laid out for you at the beginning (e.g., Aristocratic Revolt, 1787-1789; Bourgeois Revolt, May-July 1789; Workers/Peasants Revolt, July-August 1789; Towards Constitutional Monarchy, August 1789-August 1792; and so on) and then start placing the various key events and figures we’ve talked about in their right period (e.g., the October Days, the Flight to Varennes, the Battle of Jemappes, and so on). This will take a little work on your part, but that’s learning. One new fangled method you might want to try is something I stumbled across in the summer, but haven’t played around with yet. It’s called Timetoast, and it’s a website that allows you to craft your own personalized timelines. I might use this in the future for classes, but I can see students getting some benefit on their own in crafting study materials. Play around with it and let me know how it works.
If one nation came out with guns before the other wouldn’t they dominate the other countries?
A couple of people asked variations of this question. Short answer: yes. But also keep in mind that the emergence of such weaponry spurred others to compete as well (an arms race really; nothing ever changes). Change of Die as they say…
How exactly did Napoleon Bonaparte get defeated? Wad the new military tactics and methods part of the reason he got defeated?
Short answer: yes. Other European powers started adopting Napoleonic tactics in an effort to even the playing field against him. And while Napoleon was a great general, he was a bit more human when his enemies fought like him. His own hubris was also a large component of the equation. It also helped that at Waterloo he was fighting two different Allied armies (the British under the Duke of Wellington and the Prussians under Blücher) over a three day engagement, with the timely arrival of the Prussians turning the tide.
The last isn’t a question as it is a comment that calls for a response.
The [PowerPoints] need more information. I don’t know what to be writing down. So much information.
Good note-taking is a learned ability that one must work at. It isn’t something that just happens because anyone and everyone can write crap down. There are a number of places online that discuss various strategies for good note-taking, but this one at Stepcase Lifehack has some good advice (there are others, like this handout from Dartmouth’s Academic Skills Center). The mixture of materials we use in class (outlines, lecture, discussion, PowerPoints with images, maps, and so forth) is designed to appeal to as broad a swath of students as possible, with all the different learning styles involved therein. But what I refuse to do is overload my PowerPoint slides with shitloads of text and then effectively read the slides to you. I mean, what would the point be then? Give some of the strategies linked above a try and see if that helps.
If you have any questions on this, ping me in the comments below.